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Existing audiences / participants

Questions you might ask yourself

  • What particular audiences/participants do we target? Why?

  • What do we know about our existing audiences and participants?

  • What growth/decline in audience numbers have we experienced over the past three years? Why?

  • How do we communicate with them?

  • What are our retention levels?

  • How do we do compared to other arts organisations?

  • Do our ticket selling procedures enable us to gain knowledge about our audiences?

  • How well do we consider the needs of participants in our learning/participation programmes?

What success looks like

  • We have a good understanding of existing audiences/participants and have developed mechanisms for effective communication with them.

  • Our audiences/participants are willing to tell us what they do and do not enjoy about our work.

  • We use information gained from our ticket selling procedures to inform our marketing and planning.



The AMA is the national umbrella body for arts marketers and audience development workers, with a membership of around 1,900. It offers professional development opportunities, publications and networking. Parts of the site are available to members only, while some content, including downloadable material, is offered free.

  • The AMA offers a free download of 'The Thinking Big Essay' by Stephen Cashman, which explores strategy and how to develop it, before going on to examine marketing strategy and planning. There are also 12 worksheets which guide you through developing a marketing plan for your organisation.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national arts development agency for England, supporting a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, carnival to crafts. It distributed both grant-in-aid and Lottery money.

Arts Council of Wales

The Arts Council of Wales is responsible for funding and developing the arts in Wales. It distributes funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and the National Lottery.

Audience Data UK (ADUK)

Audience Data UK (ADUK) provides guidance and clarification on collecting, processing, analysing and interpreting audience data gathered from box offices, visitor surveys or other research projects. It is supported by all the arts councils of the UK. Many of its resources are available free to download, while others are password protected and may be linked to training courses run by the organisation.

  • ADUK offers a wide range of audience development, marketing and research reports by well-known practitioners and consultants, downloadable free. These include some editions of the AMA's journal JAM and research commissioned by audience development agencies and funders. Subjects include growing audiences, writing research briefs and artform classifiers.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is the department responsible for government policy on the arts, culture and creative industries. Its website has a reference library of publications and research.

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange is a professional company of dance artists, founded in 1976 and based in Maryland, USA. The company develops new work, carries out workshop programmes and leads national dance projects.

  • The US dancer Liz Lerman developed her Critical Response Process in the 1990s as a method to develop artistic works-in-progress through a four-step, facilitated dialogue between artists, peers, and audiences. It is widely used by arts organisations, educators and managers.

Mission Models Money

Mission Models Money is an independent, sector-led initiative addressing the challenges faced by individual arts and cultural organisations and their funders in developing mission-led, organisationally and financially resilient businesses. It aims to test ideas for responding and adapting to the numerous and complex trends affecting non-profit distributing arts and cultural organisations.

NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)

NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) is a Non-Departmental Public Body, accountable to Parliament and funded by means of a 300m endowment to foster innovation in tackling the country's social and economic challenges. It works in partnership with private and third sector organisations.

Scottish Arts Council

The SAC website offers a long list of publications, with over thirty concentrating on educational matters. These not only concern arts organisations, but also deal with the extensive input which SAC has had to Scotland's Curriculum of Excellence.

Taking Part survey

This Arts Council England site offers an arts-specific view on the Taking Part survey statistics provided by the UK Government. It offers three portals: 'Facts and Figures'; 'Case Studies of Current Practice'; and 'Guidance and Advice'.


Tellus is a national survey which gathers children and young people?s views on their life, their school and their local area. This site is a ?one stop Tellus4 portal?. It provides questionnaires for children and young people to complete, details of response rates, survey findings and reports.

  • Tellus is a national survey which gathers children and young peoples views on their life, their school and their local area. There will be some reports from the Tellus4 Survey that are available to the public from February/March 2010. The public reports will consist of a national report, presenting the data at national level; a national report specifically on the National Indicators that relate to the Tellus data; and Local Authority level reports (but not identifying individual pupils or schools).